Penn State student club promotes literacy awareness

Career preparation, networking, service events and getting to know classmates -- all are integral parts of Penn State’s chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA). This year, the club has added a new responsibility to its plate: activism.

Current president of the club and communications sciences and disorders (CSD) senior Haley Gottlieb has been one of the key proponents of this. The club’s first advocacy effort was to promote literacy by writing letters to government officials in an effort to prevent budget cuts to Schlow Centre Region Library in State College. “Literacy is such a big part of communication,” she said. Working together, the club amassed over 100 letters of support for their cause.

Gottlieb first heard about the budget cuts through her contacts in the national office of NSSLHA and wanted to help out. She remembered that during one of her CSD courses at Penn State a professor discussed the necessity of advocacy in the field, and so she decided to take action. That professor, Kelly Webb, instructor in communication sciences and disorders, also is one of the faculty advisers for the Penn State chapter of the NSSLHA, along with Eileen Kowalski, instructor in communication sciences and disorders.

“This was a good opportunity for me to show people how easy it is to help someone else. Sometimes you have to be the voice for someone who can’t,” Gottlieb said. She already is planning her next activism effort, which is to raise awareness of acoustics in schools.

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Last Updated February 16, 2010